At Furze Platt, we are dedicated to helping students widen their subject knowledge and interests beyond the classroom.
There is a difference between extra-curricular activities and super-curricular activities. Extra-curricular activities are those out-of-school activities that show students have a range of soft skills. They reveal what the students is like as a person and how they might work with others and get a job done, such as being able to work in a team, time management and leadership skills. So, extra-curricular activities matter but super-curricular activities are what makes a student show excellence and demonstrate that they have gone above and beyond their curriculum to deepen their knowledge and develop their interest.
The range of super-curricular activities is huge, some cost but many are free and, with the internet, there are plenty of opportunities to go that extra mile and show a passion for the subject you potentially want to study at university. When engaging with a super-curricular activity, it is a good idea to keep a record and think about the impact of the activity on your existing knowledge about the subject, how it has developed your thinking or knowledge, any skills developed and so on. You could download this guide, created by Queen’s College, Cambridge, to help you record your activities.
Below are some examples of super curricular activities that are appropriate for all subjects. For subject-specific resources, visit each department’s page by navigating the menu on the left-hand side of the curriculum section.
Trips, visits and lectures
There are so many museums and tourist attractions in and around Berkshire. Many museums in particular now have virtual tours which is a fantastic way of exploring the wonders of a museum at your own pace from the comfort of your own home. Universities will also have public lectures on numerous topics that are open to the public and are suitable for Year 10 students and above and offer unique opportunities to hear from leading experts. You can also access recordings of these public lectures online. Some universities will also hold summer schools and masterclasses, giving you a real chance to experience studying a subject at undergraduate level, often using new technology or equipment to conduct experiments and give you a meaningful insight into academic research and careers.
Societies and clubs
There is a club or society for everything, make sure you join it. They usually have a cheaper student membership. This will give you access to all sorts of resources such as trips (as mentioned above), magazines (below), as well as the opportunity to meet, talk and connect with experts in the field.
Most societies have a magazine which is free/part of the membership. There are many magazines that are interesting and relevant so ensure that you stay abreast of changes in your subject. The BBC has an excellent range of subject specific magazines.
This is really just additional to the magazines, read around the subject. There are plenty of books, even for mathematicians. Reading is a great way to explore subjects which you find interesting and it is important to read critically by thinking carefully about the arguments, assumptions and evidence being presented by the author. Start with your subject’s reading list on the Furze Platt website.
Competitions and courses
There are competitions for every subject at all levels. Usually this will be in the form of an essay competition for arts and humanities, but there will be design competitions, creative competitions and pure skill against the clock competitions. It really doesn’t matter whether or not you win, this is about the learning – what did you learn? Speak to your teacher for more information on current school and national competitions.
If you want to learn about a topic or issue in your own time, then online courses are an easy way to enhance your learning. Most online courses are free and can vary from one hour a week to 6 hours a week of self-directed study.
Films, documentaries and podcasts
Clearly this is an easy way to access a wider understanding of a subject. There are some really good documentaries out there and they are a good starting point for understanding what else you could do. Radio is also a really good way of accessing a wider understanding of the subject. The radio is also good as you can download podcasts and listen anywhere – on the bus, in the gym, on a dog walk. BBC Radio 4 and 4 extra have a wide selection, if you are scientist the ‘Infinite Monkey Cage’ is also funny!
Social media and blogging
What better way to show your interest in a topic or subject than by creating a blog? You can really demonstrate what you have been up to, how you are interested in the topic and what you have learned. It could also help your peers to find out more about an event or issue and to help spread awareness.
Not sure where to begin?
The following websites are useful as a starting point for all subjects: